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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Minister: Taliban prisoners in Qatar remain under close watch

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Qatar foreign minister Dr. Khalid Al Attiyah.
Qatar foreign minister Dr. Khalid Al Attiyah.

Qatar’s foreign minister has said five Taliban detainees living in the country are abiding by their release conditions, even as questions emerge about what will happen to the former fighters when terms of the arrangement expire later this year.

The five men were released from an American prison in Guantanamo Bay and sent to Qatar last year in a prisoner swap that saw US soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive in Afghanistan for five years, returned to the states.

Late last week, US Senator Lindsey Graham – who recently visited Qatar – said the men may be looking to return to the battlefield and they had “reached out” to individuals fighting American forces in Afghanistan who had come to meet with them.

“The Taliban five are communicating with people inside Afghanistan,” Graham – a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, was quoted as saying.

It’s not clear if such communications would violate the terms of their release, which – beyond a requirement to remain in Qatar for one year – were never publicly disclosed. The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, previously reported that the other restrictions include a ban on fundraising and “military incitement.”

Regardless, Qatar’s foreign minister – Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah – called the recent media reports “totally false” early this week.

“They are living according to the agreement we signed with the United States,” he said, according to Reuters. American and Qatari security agencies “will monitor and pick up anything that will happen,” he said, adding, “I can assure you, no one has made an attempt to go back” to Afghanistan.

Prior to last week’s reports, it appeared as though the Taliban members in Qatar had kept a low profile since their release. In their first public statement last June, they vowed to stay “loyal” to the agreement with Qatar.

Taliban office in Doha.
Taliban office in Doha.

Other members of the Taliban have lived in Qatar for several years. In 2013, the group opened a political office in Dafna that was reportedly intended to facilitate negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government and the US.

But the headquarters closed less than a week later after drawing the ire of then-president Hamad Karzai in Kabul for raising a flag and installing a placard that named the building a representative of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” – the former name of the country when it was under Taliban rule.

It’s not clear what, if any, control Qatar places over the Taliban’s activity in the country in exchange for allowing it to maintain a presence.

The US, however, admits that there is “very little” that country’s military forces can do to prevent the men from returning to the battlefield later this year.

Thoughts?

20 COMMENTS

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Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

“questions emerge about what will happen to the former fighters when terms of the arrangement expire later this year.”

hmm, I wonder

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Your chosen word ‘expire’ might not be far off the mark…

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

rumour has it they’re the guys setting up the Synchronised Swimming team. Wet kalashnikov’s slowing progress, but very determined..

Sminto Antony [sAm]
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

Haha!!

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

No it’s the burqa and the headgear that’s slowing them down

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

I guess they will need to secure an exit permit first :-p

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I don’t agree with Gitmo, if they are guilty of something, (which surely they are especially the massacre of thousands of Shias with many eye witness among their crimes) then they should have been tried in court.

I guess they are passing their time peacefully supporting the Reflect Your Respect campaign and entering Qatar’s most ridiculous beard competition.

Sending them back to Afghanistan is not a good idea, where they will join up with their friends to bring back oppression to millions and the total subjugation of women.

Gertrude
Gertrude
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Sadly most people do not care about Shia losses : /
Sad sad how people can hate each other just because they think differently.
There is beauty in diversity and difference.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Lol. Send them to Sweden or Norway where women have greater support from the governments regarding equal rights. They are by no means perfect but imagine these idiots having to live according to the dictats of the laws in a country that recognises the input of women. That surely would be their worst nightmare.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Senior figures from the government claimed they are reformed men, no longer men of war, brutality and oppression while in Qatar they have seen error of their ways and have launched a new peaceful movement, tolerant of others regardless of race or faith they practise and hoping to build a new Afghanistan.

Latest picture from their rally on the corniche.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Doha news should ban images on comments, its soo big1

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Let’s step back a minute and see how the Taliban lead to the subjugation of women. Why would they ever want these men back in their country?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Qatar and the Taliban have a deal dating back to Bin Laden’s time. Qatar pays and the Taliban leave Qatar alone. If you don’r believe it, then it’s your problem.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

I’d bet it’s that way throughout the Gulf.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

i dont believe u tbh

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

you have any sources for this?

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

I’m not sure if Al Attiyah is being sneaky with the wording of his statement or not, and why he would be if he is, but what he’s saying and what the accusations are aren’t the same. He said that none have made an attempt to go back to Afghanistan, but I don’t think that’s what’s been alleged. So is he confused or is he trying to hide something?

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

I’d bet serious money they don’t want to go back to Afganistan. Why should they when life is so good here. But it won’t stop them making trouble with their contacts in Afghanistan.

Lorin
Lorin
6 years ago

Next topic pls….been with my friends @ Al Kass International Cup, Aspire zone this evening. .The 1st game played between Arsenal and River Plate had a scene like in a movie hu ….Aspire Academy Qatar was lost to Milan Italy(3-0) for the 2nd game…Congrats Milan! Try your luck next time Qatar….

Lorin
Lorin
6 years ago

We thought the fighting would not be stopped hu…

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